I just leaned today that a dear friend of mine from up north has passed a way. It crushed my heart. If I could, I surely would be there for my friend and her family.
I used to be friends with the entire family when I was a teen. The one daughter and myself along with another out of the family friend ran around and lived those freedom days.
Many moons later I happened to apply for a job as a care giver and low and behold it was for this family I had known for so long. I was so thrilled to be sitting in their living room once again. Talk sort of became side-tracked as we relived memories from our younger days.
I did get the job. I took care of their parents. The mother had always been a school teacher. She was very much a lady and loved her husband and children very much. She also wrote poetry; which I am still blessed to have a special book of her poems. I loved hearing her stories about how their home grew from a small home to a big beautiful home.
The mother loved having company. She cherished life when her grandchildren came to visit. After she and her husband had been married for so many years, I enjoyed the quaint words they used towards each other when they didn’t agree, or one wanted to be left alone.
It was a Sunday morning and I was getting Mom up for the day. I took the extra time to doll her up, as I call it. I put her in her dressy outfit. I did her hair and put her jewelry on her neck and ears. I applied make-up.
I showed my work to her in her mirror and she gave me the biggest hug I had experienced in some time. My heart jumped out of its cage and I was so thrilled I had made her so happy.
I was so glad I had done that, as not very long afterwards she passed a way. Oh how my heart ached. Her husband knew her health was not good, but the reality of losing her caused a great sadness and a quietness about him, I had never seen before.
I felt so bad for him and I worked extra hard at trying to make the time I was with him more enjoyable. I would help him sit in his wheelchair and since he lived in a small, county town, I would push him down the sidewalks to the city fairs. Some weekends we would visit little shops.
He pointed out and tried out different canes he saw in the stores. He sure did have a thing for canes. We would stop in at a place he belonged to so he could visit with his best friends. I took him to church as long as he could handle the ride. He had served in the war and also did his work in tomato crops after returning home.
Over time from his sadness and loss of his best friend, his health declined and I was so sad once again when he passed a way. The funeral was nice and I took with me and still carry many fond and loving memories of the couple I cared for.
Now today, one of their children passed a way. She was a joy to be around. She had a gift of gab, which always drew me near her. She was a good cook too, and I loved being invited and to feel a part of this family.
Anita and I became good friends. I never felt like an employee when I was with her. When there were special occasions I was always excited to see her once again.
Well to be even more honest, I thought all of the kids in this family were awesome. I watched one of the kids fall in love. It was so beautiful. I enjoyed going along to their lake house. I just loved everything about them. Still today, when I see Carol, I take the time to stop and chat. Anita and I still speak through Facebook.
In final, I want to say, I will miss you Barb. I would give anything to be up their to pay my respects. Know in my heart, that you will always live in my memories. Your laughter will always ring in my ears.
I pray that this close family will cling to one another. I ask God to surround his love and shoulders so that you may draw comfort. I will never forget the wonderful and sad moments during my few years working for you. I love you all. God bless.
From a store’s point:
“Hey Bill, you know sales have been dropping off. This thing they call hardship people are going through is just a bunch of crap. We all know everyone needs clothes, groceries, gas and all the other things in between. Isn’t anything that is ever going to stop that. What do you suggest we do?”
” Well Ted, you know I have a heart at Christmas just like everyone else; but the facts are stamped black and white. Do you want to be able to fly you and your family to the Islands next summer like we talked about? I’m sure your wife doesn’t want to give up the Nanny and the Housekeeper she has had for a few years now. We have to protect everyone up here on this floor. We have an obligation don’t we?”
Bill nods his head in agreement. A slight silence falls around them before Bill speaks once again. ” We don’t have much of a choice when you really think about it. We will have to keep our stores open on Thanksgiving and Christmas; but we will give something back to the employees. We will keep our regular hours 7a-9p on Thanksgiving, and we won’t reopen on Christmas day until one. I guess if the employees want to bitch, they can always leave. After all, we know employees are a dime a dozen.”
With that the two shake hands and walk out the office to let the others know of their decision.
From an employee’s point:
“Jeez Sue, I am really tired. We have all been working for days with only one day off a week for the last few weeks. This holiday shopping season sure puts a damper on my sore feet and back. What about you Mary, are you feeling it too?”
” I sure am feeling it Sue, in more ways than one. My grandson was over last evening. I really wanted to visit with him; but all I could think of was my aching feet and how I wanted to soak them. I have blisters on my feet. If only I could afford to buy an extra pair of shoes to trade-off and on while we work these long days. Well, Timmy asked me why we didn’t have our Christmas tree up like down at the job. I smiled and told him Grandma has been so busy, but I gave him a hug and promised him I would get it up soon and he could help.”
Both ladies smiled as they stood in silence understanding the unspoken words.
” Yes, I understand where you are coming from. Holiday decorations go up so early, kids just don’t understand all the work that goes into getting the stores ready; but you know we have to listen to our boss. Without them we wouldn’t have a job and jobs are hard to find.”
Sue continued, ” Of course there is more than the work at the store. There is a big dinner to plan, groceries to buy, then it seems I make the biggest portion of the meal. Then there is the Christmas shopping and gift wrapping. Wow, just thinking about it makes me worn out.”
Mary states,” Well the one good thing that keeps me going is that we at least get part of Thanksgiving Day off and all of Christmas. Even though we have to do a lot to get to it, just seeing the smiles on the grandkids faces and everyone talking and enjoying the meal is worth it all. This is what keeps me pushing forward.”
Sue replies, ” Oh Mary, haven’t you seen the paper posted on the employee board in the break room?” Mary shakes her head no and places her hands on her hips. ” The notice says we are all working the entire day on Thanksgiving. They let us off Christmas morning, but we have to be back at one to reopen.”
Mary puts her hands over her eyes and weeps. Sue places her arms around Mary and gives her a hug. ” It’s going to be alright. Our families will understand. We will get through this.”
” That isn’t the point Sue. They will understand but it isn’t fair. The store just doesn’t care about us. They only want to make sure they get every penny.”